Election Mania!

After two long years of campaigning, the election is finally here. By now, you (hopefully) know who you’re voting for—if not, what’s wrong with you?—and you’ve even researched all those pesky down-ticket races that aren’t even lampooned on Saturday Night Live. You go into the booth. You pull those retro levers. (They may be antiquated, but at least they leave a paper trail.) Now what?

First, you deserve a treat. Take yourself to Starbucks. On an election day, if you tell the barista you voted, they’ll give you a free 12 oz cup of coffee. (I refuse to call that “tall.”) Not enough sugar? Ben & Jerry’s is giving away free sweets, too. In this economy, I’ll take anything for free. Especially ice cream.

Now that you’re caffeinated and no longer have to worry about the big issues, you can relax a little and finally get around to watching all those election-themed viral videos that your friends have been e-mailing you. The funny ones, not the ones where celebrities beg you to vote. I presume that you’ve already seen (the real) John McCain and (the fake, but more awesome) Sarah Palin hawk their wares for QVC on Saturday Night Live.

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 There are other good ones out there, too. I personally like the campaign commercial for Kenneth Ellen, 30 Rock’s guileless NBC page, featuring “endorsements” by Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow. Do you miss election campaign songs, like the old “Tippecanoe and Tyler Too?” (Fine, that one didn’t work out so well for William Henry Harrison, but it’s not the song’s fault.) Maybe they went out of fashion because they’re too hard to write. In the New York Times, indie songwriter Jeffrey Lewis takes 1,400 words to explain how hard it was to write a political song, then posts a minute-and-a-half video of the finished result. His accompanying comic book is very cute. And, even though I don’t think he’s even on the ballot, I’m still simultaneously hypnotized and puzzled by Mike Gravel’s crazy campaign ads. Somebody, please watch one of them and explain it to me.

Enough procrastinating. The earliest polls close at 6 pm—and that’s Indiana, which could go either way—just in time for an early dinner. Head to Plates where, if you want to watch the election returns, you’re guaranteed a TV showing the results and a complimentary small-plates buffet by the bar. Or head to the dining room where they’ve “earmarked” a $30 prix-fixe menu in honor of the elections. Now that’s change we can all believe in.

Perhaps you’d rather watch the returns with friends in your home—to use up all your leftover Halloween booze (and maybe give that Sarah Palin costume another spin). Good idea: you don’t want the public to see you cry if your candidate loses. As for election-night entertaining, Jezebel has collected a bunch of election-themed recipes that are floating around the Internet, from red-white-and-blue Jell-O parfait to campaign trail mix. Don’t forget the cocktails: the New York Times [link: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/02/fashion/02shake.html?ref=fashion] has a couple of suggestions, including “the Obama Cocktail, a blue Curaçao-spiked variation on a Mai Tai, and the McCain Cocktail, in which gin and a Cognac-vanilla liqueur get red-state coloration from a dose of house-made grenadine.” So, do you drink according to your ticket, or pick whichever tastes better?

Whatever you do this election day, be sure to live it up. We have to wait a whole, oh, 15 minutes before it all begins again for 2012.

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